One mistake or negligent act can change a patient’s life forever. Doctors and other medical professionals have a duty of care to their patients. When a healthcare professional fails in that duty, people can suffer severe and life-altering injuries.
At Towey Law, PLLC, our Buffalo medical malpractice attorneys have the experience and skill to recover the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to medical negligence, our dedicated legal team is here for you.
Contact us today and schedule your free consultation by calling (716) 899-1605.
Why Choose A Buffalo Medical Malpractice Lawyer From Towey Law?
When your representation matters, choose a medical malpractice attorney who can provide compassionate service and aggressive advocacy:
- We have successfully recovered over a million dollars in damages for our clients in Buffalo’s personal injury cases.
- The attorneys of Towey Law PLLC have close ties to the community, having been born and raised in Buffalo, New York.
- Whether by phone, video call, or in person, the attorneys at Towey Law PLLC make their clients’ convenience a top priority.
Why You Need Representation in Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice claims are very complex. Due to the specialized training of medical professionals, negligence can be challenging to prove.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will:
- Show that other medical professionals in the same situation would have acted differently to prevent your injuries.
- Establish the extent of the harm you have suffered due to the carelessness of your medical provider.
- Place a value on the pain, suffering, and emotional distress caused by your injuries.
- Hire experts to prove that negligence or malpractice was the cause of your injuries.
- Skillfully present your pain and suffering in a manner that an otherwise healthy person can understand.
The success of your medical malpractice claim will depend heavily on your attorney’s ability to show the treatment you received failed to meet the accepted standard of care. Call the Buffalo accident attorneys at Towey Law, PLLC to discuss your case today.
What Types of Claims Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Handle?
Every patient has the right to feel safe in their doctor’s care. When that care is violated, the medical malpractice lawyers of Towey Law, PLLC are here to hold responsible parties accountable.
According to studies from Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical errors are the third leading cause of death for Americans:
- 9.5 percent of all deaths are attributed to medical errors.
Medical negligence is not always recognized immediately. In some cases, it may take days or months to notice symptoms. It is crucial that you act quickly once you suspect your health is at risk.
Medical malpractice attorneys represent a wide range of claims. The most common forms include:
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to treat or prevent infections
- Incorrect treatment
- Failure to treat: especially where treating a condition sooner may have prevented a further injury
- Misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis: including misdiagnosing cancer as a less serious illness.
- Surgical mistakes: such as wrong site surgery, unnecessary surgery, retained foreign objects, or surgical infection.
- Birth injuries: such as cerebral palsy, encephalopathy, or injuries due to forceps or vacuum-assisted birth
- Pharmaceutical errors: such as fulfilling the wrong medication or incorrect dosage.
If a loved one has even passed away due to a medical worker’s carelessness, let the wrongful death lawyers in Buffalo help give you justice.
Important Evidence in Medical Malpractice Cases
As previously mentioned, medical malpractice claims are complex and legal actions can be lengthy. As a result, the evidentiary requirement is very high and there are a number of very important types of evidence for a successful claim. Some of the most important include medical records, expert testimony, medical bills, correspondence with healthcare providers or insurance providers, death certificates or autopsy reports (in the unfortunate event that your loved one has passed), pay stubs, and receipts for expenses. This evidence, and more, are necessary to both prove that medical malpractice occurred, was the cause of your injuries, and the extent of the losses you have incurred as a result.
Proving a Buffalo Medical Malpractice Case – The Elements of a Claim
Recovering compensation after a medical mistake involves proving four distinct elements. We encourage you to discuss all of these with your attorney, as they must all be present in order for the claim to be successful. These elements include:
Duty of Care
The first step of a medical malpractice claim is showing that there was a duty of care owed by the medical professional to the medical malpractice victim. Typically, this is shown by establishing that there was a healthcare professional-patient relationship (you may hear this referred to as a doctor-patient relationship, but medical malpractice claims can involve medical professionals other than doctors).
If a relationship between the patient and the medical professional can be established, this satisfies the requirements for element one.
Breach of Duty
The next step is showing that a breach of duty occurred on the part of the medical professional, but this is challenging. To determine whether a breach of duty actually occurred, we have to examine the definition of the “standard of medical care.”
In medical malpractice law, the standard of medical care can be summarized as a yardstick used to evaluate whether a healthcare provider has met the expected level of skill and care in treating a patient. It’s like a set of guidelines that competent and reasonable medical professionals would follow in similar situations. If a healthcare provider falls short of this standard, it might be considered medical malpractice. In essence, it is a way of assessing whether the care provided was in line with what a reasonably skilled and careful medical professional would do.
If it can be established that the medical professional breached their duty of care by not upholding the standard of medical care expected, then it must be shown that the breach of duty led to the victim’s injury or illness or an exasperation of the injury or illness. This is another challenging aspect of the claim because not every breach of duty will give rise to a medical malpractice claim. There are plenty of times when a mistake is made but corrected before any harm to the patient occurs.
Additionally, there are times when a patient sustains an injury or illness or an exasperation of their injury or illness due to something other than the breach of duty. These cases are incredibly nuanced, and they involve close examination of the facts and statements from medical experts.
The last element of a medical malpractice claim in Buffalo is showing that the plaintiff sustained some sort of monetary loss as a result of the medical malpractice that occurred. This can include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
What Damages Are Available in New York Medical Malpractice Cases?
A medical malpractice incident can be devastating and impact your life in ways that you may not imagine or fully understand initially. In addition to medical expenses, it may create significant financial pressures from lost wages during recovery or affect your future earning ability. It may cause long-term or permanent injury, leaving you or your loved one needing long-term care or rehabilitation treatment. The incident may have caused significant pain, suffering, or emotional turmoil.
A medical malpractice lawsuit, however, can help recover compensation for these expenses and losses in the form of compensable damages. In a medical malpractice claim, damages can be economic, non-economic, or (in very rare cases) punitive, and include;
- Complete compensation for medical expenses
- Lost income if you are unable to work
- Loss of future earnings potential
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
- Loss of companionship or loss of consortium
- and more
Additionally, while many states have instituted caps on certain types of damages, New York does not have damage caps in medical malpractice claims.
How Much Compensation is Available?
There is no way to pinpoint the exact amount of money your Buffalo medical malpractice claim will be worth. There are various factors that can influence the overall settlement or jury verdict. Some of the factors that can influence these settlement or jury verdict values include:
- The severity of the injury or illness that occurred as a result of the malpractice
- Whether or not an individual is able to work or go back to work after they recover
- The level of lifestyle changes that have to occur, perhaps leading to various out-of-pocket expenses
- Insurance policy limitations
- The level of pain and suffering that can be demonstrated
If you have any questions about how much compensation you may receive for your case, we encourage you to speak to your attorney. Your lawyer may be able to give you a ballpark estimate based on their experience and handling of previous similar cases.
How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Case in New York?
In most cases, New York medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years and six months from the date that the mistake, omission, or failure occurred. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. However, there are many situations where this deadline may be lengthened or shortened depending upon the circumstances.
- Exception 1 – If a medical malpractice case involves the discovery of a foreign object in the patient’s body, the lawsuit can be initiated within one year of the discovery date or the date when facts leading to the discovery become reasonably known, whichever occurs earlier. The term “foreign object” does not encompass chemical compounds, fixation devices, or prosthetic aids.
- Exception 2 – In cases alleging negligent failure to diagnose cancer or a malignant tumor, the lawsuit can be filed within two years and six months from either (i) the date the person becomes aware or reasonably should have become aware of the negligent act or omission and its resulting injury, with a maximum limit of seven years from the negligent act, or (ii) the date of the last treatment in cases of continuous treatment for the injury, illness, or condition. Continuous treatment does not include examinations conducted solely to assess the patient’s condition upon their request.
According to N.Y. CPLR 214-A:
- 214-a. Action for medical, dental or podiatric malpractice to be commenced within two years and six months; exceptions. An action for medical, dental or podiatric malpractice must be commenced within two years and six months of the act, omission or failure complained of or last treatment where there is continuous treatment for the same illness, injury or condition which gave rise to the said act, omission or failure; provided, however, that:
(a) where the action is based upon the discovery of a foreign object in the body of the patient, the action may be commenced within one year of the date of such discovery or of the date of discovery of facts which would reasonably lead to such discovery, whichever is earlier; and
(b) where the action is based upon the alleged negligent failure to diagnose cancer or a malignant tumor, whether by act or omission, the action may be commenced within two years and six months of the later of either (i) when the person knows or reasonably should have known of such alleged negligent act or omission and knows or reasonably should have known that such alleged negligent act or omission has caused injury, provided, that such action shall be commenced no later than seven years from such alleged negligent act or omission, or (ii) the date of the last treatment where there is continuous treatment for such injury, illness or condition. For the purpose of this section the term “continuous treatment” shall not include examinations undertaken at the request of the patient for the sole purpose of ascertaining the state of the patient’s condition. For the purpose of this section the term “foreign object” shall not include a chemical compound, fixation device or prosthetic aid or device.
For this reason, it is likely in your best interests to speak with an attorney as soon as you suspect that you or a loved one may have been a victim of medical negligence or malpractice. Your attorney can examine the facts surrounding your case and help ensure that, should you have a valid case, it is filed within the statutory window.
Will You Have to Go to Court?
There are several factors related to each medical malpractice claim in Buffalo that go into determining whether or not the case will actually go to court. Most medical malpractice cases are indeed settled before they go all the way to a jury trial, but that is not always the case.
There will likely be extensive negotiations between the parties involved during the entire civil lawsuit process. This negotiation will likely begin soon after the initial claim has been filed in civil court and could continue throughout the discovery process (the phase of the case where attorneys exchange evidence with one another and take depositions of possible witnesses).
In the event no negotiated settlement can be reached by the parties involved, the case will proceed forward to a jury trial, in which case you would have to go to court.
Schedule a Consultation With a Buffalo Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
Medical malpractice cases can be very complicated. It is important to have an experienced Buffalo medical malpractice attorney by your side. Negligent healthcare professionals have caused life-altering and catastrophic injuries. We can help you protect your rights, recover damages for injuries, and ensure your past, present, and future healthcare needs are met.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by medical negligence, let Towey Law, PLLC secure the compensation you deserve.
Contact us for a free consultation of your injuries by clicking here or calling (716) 899-1605.